China-Pakistan linked by mountains and rivers: President Xi

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SAMARKAND: President Xi Jinping said that China and Pakistan were close neighbors "linked by mountains and rivers and with a shared future".

The two countries have all along stood with each other through thick and thin. No matter how the international situation evolves, China and Pakistan are always each other’s trustworthy strategic partners, he added.

The statement said China will work with Pakistan to advance its all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and accelerate the building of a closer community with a shared future between the two countries in the new era.

President Xi stressed that the two sides must continue to firmly support each other, foster stronger synergy between their development strategies, and harness the role of the Joint Cooperation Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to ensure smooth construction and operation of major projects.

"It is important to expand cooperation in such areas as industry, agriculture, science, technology and social welfare to create new impetus for the CPEC’s development."

It added that China hopes Pakistan will provide "solid protection for the security of Chinese citizens and institutions in Pakistan as well as the lawful rights and interests of Chinese businesses".

The statement said the two sides needed to enhance communication and collaboration within the United Nations, the SCO and other multilateral platforms "to voice the developing countries’ rightful opposition to bloc confrontation and commitment to multilateralism".

PM Shehbaz, according to the statement, expressed appreciation to the Chinese side for its timely and valuable support as Pakistan has been affected by the flooding.

He noted that President Xi was a leader of "strategic foresight", saying China had secured "great achievements in its development and made important contributions to peace and development in the region and the wider world".

Pakistan is firmly committed to the one-China policy, and firmly supports China’s position on issues concerning its core interests including Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, the statement added.

The PM assured the Chinese president that Pakistan will make its best efforts to protect the security of Chinese citizens and institutions in Pakistan, continue its active participation in the Belt and Road cooperation and make CPEC a model of mutually beneficial cooperation.

Later, the relevant departments of the two countries also signed documents on cooperation in railway, e-commerce and other areas of mutual interest.

Separately, the Prime Minister's Office also tweeted about the bilateral meeting, saying the Chinese president described PM Shehbaz as “a person of pragmatism and efficiency” and a leader with “a longstanding commitment to China-Pakistan friendship”.

In a tweet later in the day, the defence minister said that PM Shehbaz had "very successful" talks with Putin and Xi.

"Both of them have officially invited Shehbaz Sharif to visit their countries. The prime minister has accepted both invitations. There will be a visit to China in November 2022," the defence minister confirmed.

Earlier in the day, PM Shehbaz met Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and discussed issues of bilateral interest. The meeting, held on the sidelines of SCO, focused on ways to strengthen the relationship between the two countries in diverse fields.

During the meeting, the premier underlined the importance of unlocking the existing potential in the relationship between the two countries by boosting bilateral engagement in the fields of trade, investment, agriculture, information technology, and tourism, according to a Radio Pakistan report.

"Shehbaz expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijan for its support and solidarity with Pakistan as well as the provision of generous financial assistance for the flood-affected people and highlighted that the massive natural disaster caused by climate change called for urgent action by the international community to address this global threat."

He went on to say that Pakistan and Azerbaijan had exemplary relations, deeply embedded in common history, faith, and culture.

Furthermore, Shehbaz reaffirmed Pakistan’s principled support to Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh and congratulated his counterpart on the historic success in the liberation of its occupied territories, the report stated.

"He also expressed condolences on the recent martyrdom of 71 Azeri servicemen in an unprovoked attack by Armenia and reiterated support for Azerbaijan’s right to self-defence in accordance with international law and in the protection of its territorial integrity," it added.

Afterwards, the premier visited the mausoleum of Imam Bukhari. The PML-N's Twitter account tweeted several photographs of PM Shehbaz — who changed into a sky blue shalwar kameez — visiting the tomb and offering Fateha.

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